BFTN 42 – Julian Assange
April 16, 2019
ANTIVAX 4.4
May 4, 2019
Show all

I went looking for a list of claims antivaxxers use NOT to vaccinate. Today we’ll look at the first two. 
Claim #1. Vaccines have never been proven safe or effective.
Claim #2. Vaccines do NOT work.

 
Full shownotes below.
 
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  • So to get started, I went looking for a list of reasons NOT to vaccinate.
  • Careful not to get the list of sites that are PROVAX, to make sure they aren’t spinning the real issues.
  • I found these two sites.
  • Funnily enough, they both have the exact same list of talking points.
  • Claim #1: “Vaccines have never been proven safe or effective. Vaccine studies funded by pharmaceutical companies compare vaccine “side-effects” from one vaccine to another. True, scientific, double-blind placebo studies have never been conducted on vaccines to determine their safety. Effectiveness cannot be determined unless one is then knowingly exposed to the disease entity following vaccination. Only antibody production is measured.”
  • Some definitions:
  • double-blind: neither the subjects nor the experimenters know which subjects are in the test and control groups during the actual course of the experiments
  • placebo: Some definitions say: an inert substance used especially in controlled experiments testing the efficacy of another substance.
  • But others say: A placebo is a substance as similar as possible to the active drug except it has no therapeutic effect. It does not need to be ‘inert’. The best placebo is one that mimics the active therapy as much as possible. This is because the ‘placebo effect’ is a powerful phenomenon and to truly measure the effect of an active product it important that all recipients are equally as likely to think they received the “real deal’.
  • So let’s break this statement down to its elements.
  • So the first thing that jumps out at me about this complaint is that it’s an argument about the scientific process.
  • They are first making a claim – that the NO vaccines – that’s implied – have ever been PROVEN SAFE
  • The second point is that double-blind placebo studies have NEVER been conducted on ANY vaccines. again, implied.
  • Third point is that you can’t know if a vaccine is effective unless you expose someone to the disease after they have been vaccinated.
  • So I guess we need to tackle these statements one at a time and see how they hold up.
  • First: NO vaccines have ever been PROVEN to be safe.
  • Well I’d first ask what the definition of “proven to be safe” is.
  • How does one PROVE something is SAFE?
  • Lots of wiggle room in there
  • But of course, it’s like saying “no-one has proven God doesn’t exist”.
  • While that is true, we can comfortably say that there is no empirical evidence that a god who intervenes in the world, breaking the laws of physics, exists.
  • On the contrary, we have enormous evidence that the universe operates according to physical laws.
  • So we can’t PROVE God doesn’t exist, we can say with certainty that we have no evidence that God does exist, and no reason to believe he exists.
  • Apart from the ramblings of some fervent believers.
  • How does that apply to science?
  • Well here’s a tip.
  • Whenever you hear somebody saying something about science not PROVING something, that’s your first tip that this person knows nothing about science.
  • Or is trying to bullshit you.
  • Because science isn’t about PROVING anything.
  • Nowhere in the scientific method will you find the word PROVE.
  • Let me explain my understanding of the scientific method.
  • And you know nobody knows more about the scientific method than I do, Ray.
  • The scientific method is a process by which we try to work out which theories are likely to be correct from those that are likely to be incorrect.
  • It’s my old bucket story.
  • Big bucket of things that MIGHT be true.
  • How do you figure out which things go into the very small bucket of things that are LIKELY to be true?
  • You need a process.
  • There are various ways you can go about it.
  • You can just believe whatever you want to believe.
  • You can believe those things that make you happy.
  • Or the things your parents told you to believe.
  • Or the things your friends believe.
  • Or the things a priest tells you to believe.
  • Or a book written 2000 years ago tell you to believe.
  • Or you can use some kind of rational process that can look at all of the theories and the available evidence and see which theories hold up under examination.
  • So that’s what the scientific method does.
  • You take a theory.
  • You read all of the available studies done.
  • You come up with your own study.
  • You run the test.
  • You evaluate the results.
  • You write a report on the results.
  • And then – this is important – you PUBLISH your results in a credible scientific journal and get other people in your field to bullshit filter your results.
  • They will try to replicate your test and see if they get the same result.
  • And if lots of people replicate the test and get the same results – and this theory hold up better than any other theory – then science will say this:
  • This theory is the best theory we have right now.
  • Based on the evidence we have, and the tools we have.
  • But you know – if we have better tools and better models and different evidence a year from now, or 10 years from now, then rock n roll.
  • At least in theory.
  • Of course people are flawed – they like to hold to their theories – careers are built on them.
  • Businesses are built on them.
  • Ideologies are built on them.
  • So people like to cling to bad ideas.
  • But here’s the great thing about science.
  • Eventually young scientists will come up who AREN’T attached to the old ideas.
  • and they will call bullshit on them
  • Because that’s how you make your bones in science.
  • By calling bullshit on old ideas.
  • Science is built on calling bullshit on old ideas.
  • Science factors in the fact that people are flawed and like to cling to old ideas.
  • So it rewards people who overturn them.
  • That’s who gets the Noble Prize.
  • Not people who agreed with everyone else.
  • People who upset the apple cart.
  • That doesn’t happen in religion.
  • Or anything that is based on ideology.
 
  • So when you say SCIENCE HASN’T PROVEN IT IS SAFE
  • I reply “well no, that is not how science works.”
  • Science says “based on the data we have, and the tools we have, and the evidence we have, we believe this is safe.”
  • So this claim immediately gets a FIVE out of five on my bullshit meter.
  • Top marks.
  • The statement itself is bullshit.
  •  
  • And who is best positioned to determine if vaccines are safe?
  • The World Health Organization?
  • The WHO position on vaccines: Vaccines are safe. Any licensed vaccine is rigorously tested across multiple phases of trials before it is approved for use, and regularly reassessed once it is on the market. Scientists are also constantly monitoring information from several sources for any sign that a vaccine may cause an adverse event. Most vaccine reactions are usually minor and temporary, such as a sore arm or mild fever. In the rare event a serious side effect is reported, it is immediately investigated.
  • A 2011 report from the National Academy of Medicine reviewed more than 1,000 vaccine studies and concluded that serious reactions to vaccines are extremely rare.
  • In the academy’s first comprehensive review of vaccine safety in 17 years, a committee of experts formed by the Institute of Medicine analyzed more than 1,000 research studies.
  • They concluded that benefits outweigh the risks, which are rare and usually not life-threatening.
  • In a 667-page report released Thursday, the 16-member committee found convincing evidence that vaccines can cause 14 health problems, including seizures, brain inflammation, rashes and fainting, but said those complications appeared to be very uncommon.
  • The Institute of Medicine has reviewed the safety of vaccines 11 times at the request of Congress since it enacted the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act in 1986, with the last review occurring in 1994.
  • I immediately found a report from 2014 that a group of researchers, from the RAND Corporation, searched databases of scientific literature for vaccine-related studies, turning up 20 ,478 in total.
  • This included studies of childhood vaccines as well as adult vaccines such as flu shots.
  • Then they boiled this number down to 166 controlled studies in order to directly compare the effects of being vaccinated with the effects of getting a placebo injection or no vaccination.
  • They found that the vaccines commonly administered to both kids and adults in the US are all safe and effective.
  • So thousands of studies on vaccines, including hundreds of controlled studies, which the WHO, National Academy of Medicine and the RAND Corporation all declare that they are safe, most of the time, for most people.
  • So as far as safety is concerned, I think we can say the science is in – they are safe.
  • So again the claim that aren’t safe gets a five on my bullshit meter.
  • The second point is that double-blind placebo studies have NEVER been conducted on ANY vaccines. again, implied.
  • This one is easily shown to be false.
  • Gardasil was assessed in Double Blind Randomised Placebo Controlled Trials that used the fully formulated vaccine and compared it with two different placebos, the aluminium adjuvant and a saline solution.
  • What is an adjuvant?
  • “Adjuvant” is derived from the Latin “adjuvare” which means to help.
  • Adjuvants are added to vaccines in order to help the immune response, specifically:
  • Improve the immune response so that a greater amount of antibody is produced or guide a more desirable selection of immune effectors
  • Reduce the amount of active ingredient required as that can be challenging and expensive to produce
  • Reduce the number of doses required
  • Anyway, this statement gets another FIVE right off the bat.
  • But if they had said their haven’t been MANY double-blind placebo studies on vaccines, they would get a better score.
  • Well there have been plenty of placebo studies on vaccines.
  • I mentioned RAND looked at 166 of those.
  • But are they all double-blind?
  • No.
  • Why?
  • Double-blind gets harder to do if the placebo doesn’t look and “feel” like the vaccine.
  • If it’s obvious to the doctor or the patient that you aren’t feeling or showing the effects you would get if you’d received the vaccine, then it can’t be double blind.
  • And why only 166 placebo studies?
  • Why aren’t they all placebo studies?
  • It’s about ethics.
  • To do a large double-blind placebo trial, you’d have to take a huge group of kids, thousands of kids, and leave them exposed to various diseases. 
  • FOR YEARS. 
  • DECADES. 
  • And then look at the results. 
  • How many kids would die as a result? 
  • If you have a vaccine that is known to be safe and effective, then you have an ethical responsibility to give it to kids.
  • To give them a placebo would be exposing them to risk.
  • Here’s the thing though – the suggestion is that the lack of double-blind placebo trials equates to the vaccines not being safe.
  • Which, as we’ve seen, isn’t supported by evidence.
  • So I still give this one a FIVE on the bullshit meter.
 
  • The Third point they made is that you can’t know if a vaccine is effective unless you expose someone to the disease after they have been vaccinated.
  • Well again, not true.
  • You can look at the antibodies that are in their system.
  • We know how antibodies work.
  • This isn’t magic.
  • but there’s more to this.
  • We can look at how well vaccines work.
  • And that’s the actually their next statement, so let’s jump straight into it.
 
  • Claim #2: “Vaccines do NOT work.They may create a temporary increase in antibodies for a particular disease, but this does not equate to immunity to disease. Vaccines, with all of their toxins and their unnatural way of introducing disease directly into one’s blood stream, decrease cellular immunity, which is more critical for one’s immune system. Neurologist Russell Blaylock has lectured and written extensively on this subject. When there are outbreaks of disease, unvaccinated children are often blamed. Whenever the outbreaks are examined more closely, the data show that the majority of those suffering have been vaccinated for the disease. Disease charts show that diseases were mostly eliminated prior to the creation of vaccinations. What is truly responsible for most communicable disease elimination is clean water and improved sanitation.”
  • Okay. Let’s break this one down into its parts.
  • “this does not equate to immunity to disease”. 
  • Well nobody says that’s what vaccinations do. 
  • Here’s what the Australian government says
  • Vaccines strengthen your immune system by training it to recognise and fight against specific germs. When you come across that virus in the future, your immune system rapidly produces antibodies to destroy it. In some cases, you may still get a less serious form of the illness, but you are protected from the most dangerous effects.
  • So nothing about immunity. 
  • Immunity is not like flicking a light switch; there is no simple on/off button.
  • Sometimes an individual’s immune system just doesn’t respond to the vaccine.
  • Or perhaps the vaccine has lost potency because it is out of date or has not been stored correctly.
  • In the real world, these things can happen.
  • And mild disease can occur despite successful vaccination.
  • So they are suggesting that the promise of immunity is false, even though that’s never promised.
  • So that’s a FIVE on the meter. 
  • This guy Russell Blaylock who is their authority on cellular immunity? 
  • He’s also an Infowars commentator who thinks Obama introduced health care in order to impose euthanasia. 
  • Somehow he’s making the argument that the communists… run… the corporations? 
  • And that the Soviet Union tried to spread collectivism into the USA by covertly introducing illegal drugs and various sexually transmitted diseases.
  • currently a visiting professor in the biology department at Belhaven University, a Christian university in Mississippi.
  • So then they go on to say that:  Whenever outbreaks are examined more closely, the data show that the majority of those suffering have been vaccinated for the disease.
  • So this is another one that is half true, and they are misrepresenting it. 
  • Immunity is not like flicking a light switch; there is no simple on/off button.
  • Sometimes, for a variety of reason, the vaccination doesn’t work to 100% effectiveness. 
  • So let’s imagine a theoretical scenario.
  • Imagine there’s an outbreak of some disease in a school.
  • The number of vaccinated kids who get sick will often outnumber the unvaccinated people who get sick.
  • Not because vaccines are ineffective, but because there are so few kids who aren’t vaccinated in the first place.
  • Let’s say You have a group of 100 5 year old kids who have been exposed to an outbreak of a rare disease.
  • Of those 100 kids, 95 have been vaccinated – 5 have not. 
  • Different vaccines provide different rates of protection, but in this case, let’s assume that 98% of people who are vaccinated will successfully develop immunity against the disease.
  • So when the outbreak happens, all 5 of the unvaccinated kids get the disease.
  • What about the 95 who were vaccinated?
  • Well if the vaccination is 98% successful, 2% of 95 kids will get the disease. 
  • 1.9 kids. 
  • If it’s 10% ineffective, 10 vaccinated kids get it. 

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